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Navigating the benefits of Phonics. What is it? And why is it good for my children?

Navigating the benefits of Phonics. What is it? And why is it good for my children?

Forget the alphabet nursery rhyme you grew up with to learn the names of the letters. Today is all about Phonics.
Phonics is a method used to teach children to read by connecting letters (graphemes) with the sounds they make (phonemes). It is the best known and widely used method.

History of Phonics
The first concept of Phonics dates all the way back to Roman times. A text called The Doctrine of Littera stated that letters consist in sounds. This concept is the foundation of Phonics.

Though Phonics has been around for a very long time, centuries of debates and controversy stopped this method from being used in the classroom until the beginning of the 21st century, when National Reading Panel reported that, after an inept review of the best practices in reading in the U.S., that phonics instruction is an effective method for all ages, and it is particularly beneficial for children who are having difficulty learning of spelling and reading.

How does it work?
Through this method, children learn the sound of each letter. And they also learn that when you put these sounds together you get a word.
For example:
These letters all have their own individual sound. But when you put them together (blend them) you get the word ‘bat’.
The norm is to focus on one sound at the time, gradually adding new sounds, until they can start blending two letters together, then three, four and so on.

But, what about those pesky letters that have more than one sound?
Though there are only 26 letters in the English language, modern English uses about 44 different sounds. So how do you teach your children to pronounce the different sounds of these types of letters?

These types or sounds are listed out with images for the child to memorise. These are:

ch as in chin
sh as in shoe
th as in thank you
ng as in sing
nk as in think
ai as in rain
ee as in see
or as in fork
oo as in book
oo as in zoo
oa as in boat
ar as in car
ow as in cow
er as in letter
ur as in nurse
ear as in ear
oi as in coin
air as in chair
igh as in night
ure as in picture

Teaching children to learn and memorise the connection between a letter and its sound might seem very daunting at first. They won’t learn to read overnight, you can be sure of that! But once they learn the sounds that these graphemes make, they will possess the tools that will enable them to read and write pretty much anything! And that, my friends, is amazing.

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